Rorate Caeli

Urban in Clermont = Benedict in Regensburg ?

The disproportionate reaction of all categories of Muslims regarding the Pope's speech at the University of Regensburg would make it seem that Benedict XVI has called for a new Crusade. It only makes the Papal message on the reality of the Rationality inherent to the Christian message, and notably absent in Mohammedanism, even clearer.

If only they realized how ridiculous this looks...


  1. I agree the extreme reaction reveals their irrationality. Maybe this will start to chip away at the tired rant from Godless liberals about the "evil crusaders", and that christians are just as evil as jihadists.

  2. it's easy to just say "live and let live". it takes courage and effort to stand up for justice and truth. it's nice to hear our pope point out the serious errors in islam.

    if only our bishops would do the same with mormonism, JW, evangelical christians, liberal protestants, and secularism/relativism.

  3. Anonymous9:34 PM

    Pray that it may be so. However, I fear that the liberals have already judged Benedict's "intolerant" statements as worse than all the acts of Muslim terrorism in recent memory.

  4. Is it wrong to find something kind of humorous and ridiculous in the Muslim reaction to Benedict's comments?

    If one bothers to read the pope's actual comments, he actually extremely fair to the Muslim position. In quoting Paleologus, he acknowleges that the subjective nature of the dialogue presents perhaps some rhetorical distortion in favor of the Christian position.

    But how do Muslims respond? Do they produce a litany of positive and peaceful things introduced by Muhammad? No. They scream into cameras and set things on fire. They give us a front row seat to the great deposit bequeathed to the human race by Muhammad...

    Contemporary Muslims have presented a much stronger case for the truth of Paleologus' words than Pope Benedict ever did in that little speech of his.

  5. Precisely. If Jews said what does the Church bring to the table that we didn't already have? We can answer salvation, the fulfillment of their covenant, opening heaven, etc. We can answer with the perfection of the law of Moses in the law of Christ.
    Muslims have failed to take up the challenge ever since Manuel II Paleologus.

    Unfortunately, if Pope Benedict wants to claim he meant no attack on Islam, then he only demonstrates he doesn't understand the religion. That isn't so bad because it takes many years of studying the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sha'ria, and the sources of the tradition to understand it well, but one would think that Benedict would hae someone that has advising him! He pointed to the fact that spreading faith by violence is contrary to God's nature and therefore irrational. The reason this is blasphemous for a Muslim is that for them it is putting human constructs on God's power. In the Islamic system God transcends all laws, even those of logic, math, etc. There is nothing fixed. Violence is not against God's nature unless God wants it to be that way. God is so transcendent that he is beyond human contemplation, period. Thus a Muslim can not know God, or have a personal relationship with him, he can only know his will, and submit (islam) to it. Therefore to suggest anything is against the nature of God is blasphemous to the ears of Muslims.

    The problem is that no Muslim will examine this against reason and rational principles, because if they did they would know that it was false. Laws of logic and being are part an expression of God's existence. Muhammed did not understand any of this. He just wrote whatever satisfied his personal lusts, or he was lied to by the devil. It is a human construct that best reflects the interests and goals of its founder, who in any court of his time would have been put to death for raping children.

    As far as I'm concerned it is high time for Benedict to act as his predecessor Urban had at Clermont.

  6. "I never meant to offend Muslims" might be a very good application of the so-called principle of double effect. No one should ever "intend" to offend anyone, such an intention reveals a most immature and puerile attitude and personality. The question is whether we should place the honorable desire to not offend above the detestable desire to obfuscate the truth. The answer should always be to put the truth in clearest, most sublime terms with the hope that it will cause not offense, but conversion and consent. This seems a most difficult task for presenting the truth to Muslims.

    At the end of the day, Muslims have given such commitment, such unswerving obedience, to the Koran that any suggestion of it's being in error is rejected a priori. And that is an extremely tough nut to crack. And this, by the way, is how most seculars regard committed Jews and Christians, but they are wrong for the following reason: Most sects of Christianity and Judaism are epistemologically multi-layered because the revelation presupposes, confirms and elevates reason. If a proposition of reason seems to contradict an article of faith, the faithful exegete will set himself to reconcile the two, showing their true compatibility. In other words, mature, convinced Jews and Christians will take pains to figure out and demonstrate why a contradiction is only apparent and not actual: Fides Quarens Intellectum. Not so with Islam: Faith seeks not understanding but domination.

    In Catholicism, there are multi-layered "rules of faith." Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. Tradition contextualizes, explicates and adds to the truth of Scripture. The magisterium--as the last line of defense against the errors of private interpretation--guarantees the authenticity of an individual interpretation of reason and faith. True Catholicism thus provides a deep multi-layered circle of knowledge, ensuring continuity between one's beliefs and the truth that comes from God. This does not exist in Islam, which gives greatest credibility to the most macho interpretation of the Koran, which itself is an epistemologically closed circuit. Deep thinking Muslims have no choice but to abandon the effort to demonstrate continuity between reason and faith in the Koran. Within a generation of Muhammad, his disciples despaired of showing that the Koran fulfilled the Old and New Testaments. Their commitment to the Koran forced them to propose the preposterous idea that Jews and Christians had changed their scriptures in order to confound the Koran. But let’s face it: If any of us were Muslims, we’d either accept this interpret, abandon our "faith" or choose to hide our minds beneath a very willful form of ignorance.

    Not so with Jews and Christians, a Jew attempts to explain from the Old Testament that revelation was definitively completed long before the time of Christ. A Christian counters that the New Testament was divinely anticipated in the Jewish Scriptures. A Protestant attempts to explain that the Catholic Church added foreign doctrines to original Christianity. A Catholic counters that these doctrines were implicit from the beginning, but explicated under the promised guidance of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13). A Muslim spits and screams.

  7. Of course we all know that the 14th century reference to converting people by the sword no longer holds.Just two weeks ago the world had a sample of the new gentler kinder Islamic approach to conversion when the two kidnapped Fox reporters were converted at gunpoint. How dare anyone accuse Islam of being stuck in the 8th or 9th century.

  8. With Peter,

    We have found something on which we agree. You expounded very well on the problem. I knew an Imam once, and we debated various issues in the Bible, and he was so amazed at the answers I gave him, because all he ever knew was his Muslim propaganda. However, we could not engage on the same activity even examining the Qur'an, because he would be an apostate for doing it.

    I wrote a print article that reported positions of Muslim theologians at an ecumenical conference, and then brought in a counter-point by a secular writer who regularly criticizes Islam who knows arabic and has studied for years. For that I got death threats, which is why I no longer use my real name online. How many university professors that regularly lie about the Church get death threats from Christians? How many professors who advocate the destruction of Israel have gotten death threats from Jews? For that matter how many Muslim centers are attacked by Jewish gunmen? But if I advocated putting the Turks back in Turkmenistan and restoring Anatolia to Greece, or reconstituting the Roman Empire and returning Istanbul to its real name, Constantinople, I would be blaspheming the religion of Islam since once a land is ruled by Muslims it is always Islamic, and it is blasphemous to put any claim on it.

    This is why ecumenical dialogue with Muslims (as with anyone else) will always be a failure. The talk is on our side, but the sword is on theirs.

  9. That isn't so bad because it takes many years of studying the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sha'ria, and the sources of the tradition to understand it well

    Perhaps; on the other hand, a picture's worth a thousand words - and how many pictures do we need?

    It's perfectly in order to judge Islam by its fruits; from which it's self-evident that it stultifies, infantilises and degrades.

  10. I pray for The Holy Father and his future. It is time to take the bull by its horns, in more ways than one. And I applaud him for his courage here as he must have presupposed at least some reaction by the rabble.

    Nevertheless, Rome is reaping the bitter harvest of 40 years of shameless compromise with empty religions and human institutions, treating them as equals under the sun. There is worse to come.

    You can read The Koran as many times as you like - it advocates violence against non-muslims. The religion was disseminated by over 400 years of aggression and persecution in The Middle & Near East & North Africa before Europe was forced to defend christendom militarily. JP (RIP) II's apology for Crusader sins was in many senses unjustified and an empty one. It overlooked many historical realities of which he appeared ignorant.

    Now it is time for the laisser-faire interreligious liberalism of JP II, pursued by Pope Benedict XVI to stop. Islam has one sole objective - to make an Islamic world. It is a proselytising creed.
    Its followers will talk and be "nice" to us while they are in a minority but when they have the upper hand demographically they will employ every principle of western democracy to overthrow the liberalism which permits the dissemination of their FALSE religion. It is false and not an equal of Christianity in The Roman Catholic Church. It is as the traditional catechism describes it - "paganism". It has a pagan god who hates, destroys, acts in a contradictory manner, has a carnel paradise for men and sometimes acts with "compassion" and "mercy" but never love.

    Very soon, the fanatics you witness behaving as violent animals in the streets will be trumpeting to the world how marvellous they are for fasting all day. Nothing is done behind closed doors in secret as Our Blessed Lord advocated, except to plot the demise of Christendom, its enemy.

    Intellectualise as much as you wish, whatever Christianity and Islam have in common is purely incidental. Much of this intellectualism is pedantic and cowardly. The final ends are diametrically opposed. Pope Pius XI was correct to pray against the darkness of Islamism. What a disastrous pity his latest successors do not listen to him.

  11. "Intellectualise as much as you wish, whatever Christianity and Islam have in common is purely incidental."

    True, but it's all we've got to work with as we seek to bring Muslims out of their spiritual slavery into the freedom of the Catholic faith.

    "Pope Pius XI was correct to pray against the darkness of Islamism. What a disastrous pity his latest successors do not listen to him."

    I don't know if his successors have been praying for Muslim conversions or not, but I know I have been, and I know many other Catholics are doing it too.

  12. Ecumenical dialogue will always be a failure if it is treated as an alternative approach to evangelization, as if unity of beliefs can be achieved without conversion and repentence of error. A program which simply aims to achieve a progressive and developmental convergence of traditions will ALWAYS fail. Unity is the fruit of faith and obedience, which can only come through the repentence and forgiveness of sins.

    But if dialogue is done as a stage of evangelization between the silent witness of a moral life and the proclamation of Catholic truth, it can be quite useful in preparing for conversion.

    But dialogue with a Muslim seems impossible simply because the religion forbids even a hypothetical suggestion of error. A mature, well-trained Jew or Christian will examine such an hypothesis and try to show it to be contradictory. A Muslim cannot and will not entertain even the hypothesis. And the only reason I can give is that they (rightly) lack the confidence that they can disprove the hypothesis. To examine Islam's doctrines and morality is to abandon Islam's doctrines and morality. While being perfectly aware of the Muslim's ability to slice my neck with a box cutter, this hardly stands as a defense of his faith.

    And this is the difference between a "moderate" Muslim and a fundamentalist: The latter slices out your tongue, the former plugs his ears. But neither is willing or able to defend his so-called "faith" in a rationally convincing manner.

  13. Orthodox Judaism also disallows discussing the truth of Catholicism.

  14. Guadaloupe Guard -

    No jew of any persuasion, mosaic, talmudic or otherwise wants Roman Catholicism to spread. They are delighted that they have promoted a current & prolonged disoriented sense of neurosis about the Second World War. This has been made to look like an anti-semitic war provoked historically by militant Catholicism. Such a revisionistic perspective is renewed annually with the help of the mass media.

    This view, unfortunately, has coloured contemporary catholic thinking about them (and muslims). Salvation comes from Our Blessed Lord not them. Our elder brother in The Faith is Jesus Christ Our Blessed Saviour not judeism or islam. There is a remarkable blind-spot here. It is not only muslims who want Catholicism eliminated. They certainly respect The Christ as a prophet but think it is blasphemy to call Him The Son of God. I think we know already what the jews say about Him and what they did to Him with gentiles helping them to do it.

    Now we know that as true Catholics we must love jews & muslims as The Christ would have us do but this is not to be confused with making every endeavour to convert them to The Faith, as of necessity. There is perhaps a move by Pope Benedict XVI in this direction but it seems to be faltering. He does not need the approval of the mass media to be The Holy Father.

    Sooner or later, with or without statements from The Holy Father, these issues are going to come to a head: they are already. Under such circumstances, one can only go on being "nice" for so long.

  15. I believe my statement about Jews and Christians being able to provide at least the pretense of a rational explanation for their beliefs still stands.

    A specific institution's way of regulating communication with non-believers is not relevant to this point.

    It is also not a statement about every single Jew or every single Christian. What I am saying is that NO muslim (at least that I have ever encountered) has the least ability to explain Islam in a coherent or convincing way. The religion falls to pieces with the least examination. It is like Mormonism on a gigantic level.

    This compliment only applies to the peaceful, so-called "moderate" Muslims. Fundamentalist Muslims are nowhere near as coherent or decent as Mormons.

  16. No jew of any persuasion, mosaic, talmudic or otherwise wants Roman Catholicism to spread. They are delighted that they have promoted a current & prolonged disoriented sense of neurosis about the Second World War. This has been made to look like an anti-semitic war provoked historically by militant Catholicism. Such a revisionistic perspective is renewed annually with the help of the mass media.


    no argument here. It is forgotten that 2 Christians died for every 1 Jew, or 12 million Christians.

    Apart from that, I will say that I know some Orthodox Jews who are very openminded to discussing the Bible and the new Testament. Even if they don't, if they are militantly anti-Catholic, there is nothing in their religion that says they can't discuss it. There is nothing in the Talhmud, or any other code that Jews follow that forbids consideration. In Islam, Shar'ia mandates that if you doubt you need to be killed as an apostate. There is a world of difference.

  17. athanasius

    I suppose it depends which version of the Talmud you read for attitudes towards all non-jews especially christians. In any case, we'd better be careful what we state here as this site wobbles when the jews are mentioned.

    As for muslims I have no illusions about their creed or their book. I know them well. I live & work in this milieu. The traditional catechism is right about them.

    Ultimately, my traditional upbringing has taught me to respect all people as Almighty God's creation but not to resepct false religion. If they ask me about my faith I tell them but without quotes from past christian emperors. They usually express positive surprise when I explain some facets of our faith to them. This approach has served me admirably in the various places I have worked in.

    When the Holy Father made his recent statement on islam no one here said anything. The subsequent harping on about "dialogue" reminds me of the current obsession in the church for this process with everyone. In the case of muslims, this may be wishful thinking on his part. We will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, christians around the world are being persecuted by them regularly, although admittedly not by them alone. Almost nothing is being said or done about it except by a few pressure groups. The Church is near to deafeningly silent on the matter. This is counter-productive and achieves nothing.


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